Red Sox, Yankees profit as rest of AL East surrenders
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox added to key pieces to their division title run – Steve Pearce and Nathan Eovaldi. So much for trading outside the division as the AL East shrinks to two teams.
How long ago was it that the American League East was the famed “Beast of the East?” I believe just a few years have passed on when all five teams would take turns giving fits to each other. Now the once formidable five has been reduced down to two – The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
Trading within the division was once pictured as just so uncivilized – like eating your entre with a salad fork or slurping from a finger bowl. Now? The Red Sox traded for Steve Pearce and Nathan Eovaldi while the Yankees traded for Zach Britton. Rentals only if not pursued in the free agency merry-go-round.
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The two teams heading for 100+ wins have money to keep players and money to absorb new contracts. The rest of the division is baseball indigent. The Orioles plight is particularly a sad happening as the franchise has imploded. A rebuilding in the works – good luck, O’s!
Tampa Bay is in a continual cycle of being competitive and then selling off the stock as it becomes too expensive to maintain. Draft choices and quality prospects are acquired, trained, matured to quality, and then unceremoniously traded off to repeat the process.
Toronto does have a measure of stability and money. The team is valued at $1.35 billion and is owned by Rogers Communications. Rogers has attempted to sell the franchise as some degree of instability is present – just think of the waning days of the Yawkey Trust.
What this divisional dysfunction has created is a two-way opportunity for sellers and buyers to meet, but this is all about the Red Sox. Boston needs to shore up their team for the stretch run and talent – very good talent – is available. The O’s and Rays will offer up just about anyone with the Jays just behind.
Need a fix at third? Josh Donaldson is just there for the plucking even though his season is an injury-riddled disappointment. Bullpen help? Tyler Clippard and John Axford are high on the list of available options. Both are right-handers with some quite respectable “numbers.”
Baltimore has already sent Manny Machado to the Dodgers, but reports are the Yankees were in play almost to the end. But Adam Jones is available and probably the pesky Jonathan Schoop as a second base possibility. And the dreadful O’s pitching? Brad Brach is still around, but not for long.
The Rays have the brooms out for their house cleaning. The prized possession is right-hander Chris Archer who certainly would look good (for Yankee fans) in pinstripes. Joey Wendle has done the job at second for the Rays and could do it elsewhere – as in Boston. Maybe closer Sergio Romo could add some Red Sox bullpen depth?
What it comes down to is the Red Sox may not have to travel outside the division to secure talent. That has been clearly on display with recent in division transactions. What it comes down to is just determining price and sealing the deal.
This misery of others is great for the Red Sox and a few others who seem to stay on or near the top forever. Occasionally a Kansas City Royals type team will win it all and then hibernate another 30 years. What is good for the Red Sox and a handful of others may not be good for baseball.